LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Clemson came out on the losing end of a contest at the the KFC Yum! Center on Sunday, with No. 2 Louisville winning at home. The Tigers were able to hang tough against the Cardinals for most of the game, but Louisville pulled away over the course of the second half and won 70-45.
The Tigers (8-4, 3-4) shot 27.1 percent from the floor, and the Cardinals (10-0, 3-0), who sank eight 3-pointers, finished with a field goal percentage of 45.8. Clemson went 7-of-9 at the free throw line, and Louisville made 8-of-9 free throws. In the rebounding battle, Clemson pulled down 43 boards to Louisville’s 41, with 21 of the Tigers’ rebounds coming on the offensive glass. Also of note, the Tigers scored 14 points off 16 Cardinal turnovers and recorded 24 points in the paint.
For the second straight game, Gabby Elliott led Clemson in scoring. She tallied 11 points and also hauled in a team-best eight rebounds. Delicia Washington got off to a hot start by scoring eight points in the first quarter. She finished with 10 points on 5-of-12 shooting. Tylar Bennett chipped in seven points, and Hannah Hank added six points. Louisville’s Kianna Smith led all scorers with 17 points to go along with her game-high six assists.
Washingon knocked down a pair of early jumpers, and a jump shot by Elliott at the 7:27 mark of the first quarter put the Tigers up 6-4. A layup by Washington not long after that placed Clemson ahead 8-7, but Louisville led 16-14 at the end of the opening period. The Cardinals’ lead increased to 34-26 heading into halftime.
Made possible by an assist from Kendall Spray, a Bennett layup opened the second half. Late in the third quarter, Elliott produced a 3-point play with a lay-in and an accompanying foul shot. Louisville’s advantage stood at 53-40 at the start of the fourth quarter, though, and the Cardinals ultimately won 70-45.
The Tigers will be back in action on Sunday, Jan. 17, for their second meeting of the season with Florida State (4-1, 3-1). On Thursday, Dec. 17, Clemson defeated the Seminoles 72-69 at home. This time, the Tigers will head to Tallahassee, Fla., to take on FSU at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center. The opening tip is scheduled for 2 p.m., and the contest will air on a regional sports network (RSN).
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Head Coach Amanda Butler
Opening statement:“We didn’t compete well enough today. There were some bright spots. The way we competed very hard in the beginning of the game stands out, and there were some positive moments in the third quarter. However, we turned the ball over too much, let Louisville’s shooters take open shots and didn’t do a good job of communicating. Our offensive execution was a challenging spot for us.”
On the keys to the game:“[The Cardinals] played exactly how they wanted to play. We’re not a young team, and we’re not going to look to explain away what could’ve been different. Louisville’s a really good team, but, in moments, we’ve showed we can be a really good team, too.”